Breaking the Bad Rocker Stereotype: The Real Reason Why Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell Committed Suicide

It's no surprise that many want to label the hard-edged rocker with the tattoos as a hard-nosed addict pulling away from the world and loved ones, and it's a tragedy. But the real truth is right here, and it's so much more:

Depression isn't an addiction, folks. It's a disease. And one that doesn't necessarily come about of one's own volition. It's not like depression comes from a needle or even too many mixed drinks on a Friday night. Depression comes from being so incredibly hurt by the world without any way of making sense of all of it. Before you know it, it's purely psychological and biological, and not even closely resembling anything remotely environmental. In fact....

Depression is just a byproduct of the original environment and not the other way around. In other words, you can be surrounded by loved ones and have the most tremendous secure life—but deep inside, you're dying because of what had happened in the past.

Truly, That's Why Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington Committed Suicide

They didn't do it because they had nothing in their lives. Truly they had everything—everything we could ever want. Security. Fame. Fortune. Fun. Friends. Family. We all want those things.

No, they committed suicide because they didn't have themselves—who they were was taken away a long time ago, and the results festered into the disease we know as depression. It can happen to the best of us.

I could never say how disappointed or depressed I am over the fact that some people can't seem to have enough 'strength' to live their lives and just want to end it, because the fact is this: depression isn't sin, nor is it a personal problem; it's a disease, sometimes a terminal one where there's no coming out of it.

Don't get me wrong: I'm deeply saddened that they're gone. But I certainly don't think any less of them.

It's a Testament to How These Musicians Cope With the Pain They Have Through Music

Think of it as an outlet. A way of coping. Living. Being. Instead of continuing to die in much worse ways, which these artists could've done, they sought to focus on the one thing that fed their souls in positive ways.

Music is therapy. They did what they did because they really needed to. You can only imagine that while Linkin Park and Soundgarden's schedules were absolutely hectic, there wasn't any doubt that they always held those special places in their hearts for those they loved regardless. Sure, it wasn't perfect. We're willing to bet kids and wives missed them a lot. It wasn't the standard 9–5 job.

But you had to know their hearts were still in the right place. They worked these jobs as musicians for a reason, not just to pay the bills and put kids through school—but for therapy, for some shred of dying light to keep them going in their broken worlds, because it at the very least made some sense out of all the nonsense in humanity.

Many Artists Have Lived Broken Lives

Or else their work wouldn't ever resonate with the crowds. It just wouldn't be real. It wouldn't be raw. It was a fact that Chester Bennington suffered from a broken childhood, facing sexual abuse, and turning to drugs as a way to cope.

It didn't necessarily mean his parents never took care of him; far from it. But sometimes the world has a way of damaging a soul in the worst way, and even the strongest of us can't come out of it.

Cornell was a similar situation growing up, marred by the overly-constructed view of organized religion and alcoholic parents, which given the situation made it very easy to turn to some sort of escape in drugs and alcohol. Already down that path, the rest was history until he found his calling: music. And it definitely had an effect.

What's Telling Is Both Cornell and Bennington Died in Exactly the Same Way, on the Same Day, a Year Apart

Cornell hanged himself on his birthday, July 20th, 2016. Here's the clincher. Bennington also hung himself on Cornell's birthday, just a year later.

It's been a fact that both musicians were great friends, so you can understand that Bennington was hit hard after hearing that Cornell had ended his life. It was easily surmised that the Linkin Park rocker did exactly that in honor of his longtime friend, the depression finally taking over.

The Truth Comes All Together, Dispelling the Rocker Cliché We All Hate

Both musicians had tremendous lives, overcoming odds that can only be explained as miraculous. But when the disease is already in there, it doesn't let go. And it's really hard to let it go.

The stereotype is unfortunate when you think about it. Because it does happen to many musicians—and artists, clear and wide—for much of the same reasons.

But the fact is this: Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell didn't end their lives out of some sick need to be away from the people they loved and the art they have a passion for.

They ended their lives because in the end of it all, their lives had already been taken from them a long time ago—and this was their way of trying to get some sense of it back.

Pierre Roustan
Pierre Roustan

I am an author, adventurer, and father, living with my wife, four daughters and one son in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I've trekked through tundras, waded through swamps, wandered through deserts, and swam in the Great Barrier Reef.

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Breaking the Bad Rocker Stereotype: The Real Reason Why Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell Committed Suicide